Friday, November 25, 2016

How Zeng Fanzhi became China’s hottest artist since "The Last Supper"

By Jane Perlez
Zeng Fanzhi’s monumental work The Last Supper was inspired by the painting of the same title by the Italian Renaissance master Leonardo da Vinci.
At the gallery opening of China’s hottest-selling artist, Zeng Fanzhi, in Manhattan a year ago, Chinese billionaires mingled with the upper crust of New York’s art world. Here at home, an even larger banquet for 500 guests, including the granddaughter of Mao Zedong, celebrated Mr. Zeng’s 25-year painting career, at the September opening of the first retrospective in his own country. Chinese artists roared onto the international art scene about 10 years ago, but few have exhibited the staying power of Mr. Zeng, and none have fetched $23.3 million for a painting at auction, the price paid for his version of “The Last Supper” in 2013. [link]

Zeng Fanzhi in front of one of his paintings in his studio in Beijing.
How has he managed to stay at the top? “You might say I am very cunning,” he said, a small cheeky smile across his broad, smooth face. “I only sell my paintings to those who really like them. Then those people will help me promote my works.” It is this approach of cultivating collectors who cherish his art, combined with indisputable painting skills, that has propelled him to the fore, said Philip Tinari, the director of the Ullens Center.